PROTECTING Our Escarpment
PitSense is a community of people organized to respond to proposals for further increases in the number of aggregate operations in Caledon.
We are opposed to the continuing 'Domino Effect' growth of open pit mines and quarries in the agricultural and rural residential areas of the Niagara Escarpment and UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

                    .... Dr. Seuss, The Lorax



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NOTES & QUOTES
This page is devoted to various notes and quotations from a variety of sources. Comments here represent the views of the authors and may or may not represent the views of PitSense. You may, however learn something about the issues that concern us, so please read on ...
Environmental Communication Close to Home

For my final blog post, I wanted to briefly mention a piece of environmental communication and activism that is taking place in my home town. I recently moved to Caledon, Ontario with my family and have spent the last few years enjoying life in the peaceful countryside. However, following our move an announcement was made regarding the creation of a gravel pit in close proximity to our home. Due to the various negative effects associated with the development of a gravel pit on a community and their homes (ie. loss of property value, pollution of air, and water impact), our local community has come together to create an activist group and protest the development of the pit.

The organization is known as ‘PitSense’ - cleverly titled to express feelings of support for the development of a gravel pit, but only if it makes sense according to various conditions. The organization was formed in early 2010 and has grown exponentially since its induction. .... You can visit their website by clicking the title above to learn more about this unique and extremely important cause and see how gravel pit development affects everyone, not only Caledon residents.
... M.T., blogger, Caledon, Ontario
I've worked with numerous clients that have told me unanimously that they will never look at or buy a home anywhere near an area where there are gravel pits due to the noise from the trucks, the decrease in air quality, contamination of ground water and the issues with wells going dry.
... D.W. Real Estate Broker, Orangeville​

Town opposes extension to Tottenham Pit

"Whereas, a pit operation of this size and duration is likely to have a negative effect on real estate values in this estate residential area ..."

"Now therefore be it resolved that the minister is requested to deny the application for an amendment to the site plan and to order the Pit to be closed, decommissioned and rehabilitated"

... From a resolution regarding the Tottenham Pit in Caledon, passed unanimously by Council on Dec/13/2011 (click on headline to read Caledon Citizen article)

Aggregate extraction below the watertable will have an impact on watertable conditions.

... From - 'Impact Of Aggregate Extraction Activities On Cold Water Discharge and Watertable Drawdown'. ...Murray Ostrander et al


No pit is a positive sum game when you factor in all the work and expense the town puts forward on new applications in other locations etc. Collectively the industry generally loses money for the town.
... R. Paterak, Councillor, Town of Caledon​​
It is much more difficult to sell a property near a quarry due to the noise and traffic. Nobody wants to have a constant flow of dump trucks passing in front of their property, especially not if you have pets and/or children. ...  I cannot say an exact percent of how much your property value will decrease, but it will definitely decrease in value.
... D.S. Realtor, Quebec​​
There are very few buyers willing to purchase a property that has a negative site influence as devastating as a pit or quarry nearby. Noise, Dust, unsafe busy roads, backing up trucks starting as early as six in the morning (with the beeping sound), who wants to live near those conditions? Anyone living near these conditions deserve some sort of compensation ...

                                                    ... K.E.  Realtor, Georgetown Ontario​​
I saw your PitSense sign and decided to look it up, and to see what it was about locally. I realized the "proposed" pit ... was literally right next door to us and the "McCormick Pit" was just south. My wife and I run a small home business dealing with Nutrition and rehabilitation of animals and Chronic Issues such as Heaves (COPD) and other Chronic problems. To realize that the air quality might drop through the floor with these pits, and truck traffic is devastating.                                      
... R.N.  Heart Lake Rd. Caledon
       The proposed Blueland Farms pit is at the intersection of three very complex geological formations: the Paris-Galt Moraine, the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment.
The uniqueness of this intersection is not only of great scientific interest, it is also of great practical significance in that we have not a clue what we are doing to the aquifer when we invade it on the scale proposed by Blueland Farms.
While their pit would be no larger than many in the area already, it is unique in that it is the closest yet to the highly sensitive intersection between the geological formations described above.
... M.S. Caledon, Ontario

You are doing a fantastic job of raising awareness about the various issues surrounding aggregate in the province. The fact that you had such good attendance on Saturday night and had so many knowledgeable people at your event is a testimony to your efforts. I wish you the very best in your continued awareness raising activities. Aggregate is an extremely important issue and deserves the attention you are giving it!       Alisa McClurg,  Waterloo, April 2012
It is a known fact that property value goes down when there is an active pit close by. We unfortunately are right across the street from the pit. If this application is approved our property value will go down and we may not even be able to sell our house for over 10 years – the expected life of the pit. My husband is retired and it will soon be time to downsize – if we cannot sell our house or have to sell it for less than its actual value who will compensate us? Why should we lose our life savings because a grandfathered pit has to operate in an area that is totally unsuitable for this to be happening?

The negative impact a pit expansion such as this has on property values in the surrounding community is substantial. This effect needs to be recognized. At present it is being ignored, causing serious economic losses, amounting to millions of dollars, to property owners. Until such time as this impact is acknowledged and accounted for in policies and legislation there needs to be a moratorium imposed on this pit and the industry in general.

From a letter to MNR from  Ms. D. O.,  Palgrave
Thousands of pits and quarries in Ontario, either abandoned (approximately 7,900 sites or more) or under licence or permit, have not undergone progressive or final rehabilitation as required under the current Aggregate Resources Act, the former Pits and Quarries Act (1980), or a predecessor of these two Acts. A pit or quarry is considered abandoned if it was not licensed under the Aggregate Resources Act (1990). The failure to rehabilitate lands that have been extracted is ongoing and appears to have intensified over the last two decades for various reasons including the discontinuation of rehabilitation security payments and licensee and permittee rehabilitation accounts in 1996 by the Ministry of Natural Resources..

... from P.47 of submission made to ARA Review Committee by Helen Purdy, Guelph, May 16,2012
Thus it will take ... 208 years at present rates of consumption, to consume all the sand and gravel reserves under license in 2010. No doubt this 208 year supply has considerably increased with the additional 200 licenses and permits added to the inventory during the past 2 years.

... from a submission made to ARA Review Committee by Dr. L. Jensen, Phd. Geoscience, May 2012
"... we need a new Corporate model .Corporations that discover, measure, and manage down their negative externalities - Corporations that work in a business environment free of perverse subsidies, and work for stakeholders, not just shareholders."
                                                                                                            ... Pavan Sukhdev, http://pavansukhdev.com/
Laws Favouring Mining of Pits and Quarries over other Land Uses Need Overhaul

“Regardless of whether it is the siting of new pits and quarries, ensuring compliance while they are operating, or requiring rehabilitation after closure, the province takes a kid gloves approach to this industry”, said CELA lawyer Joseph F. Castrilli. “It will take literally centuries and tens of millions of dollars to rehabilitate abandoned pits and quarries in Ontario”.

“There is no other way to explain provincial policies and OMB decisions that specifically prohibit consideration of whether a new pit or quarry is needed before granting an ARA licence, or the lack of adequate Ministry of Natural Resources inspection staff responsible for ensuring aggregate industry compliance with applicable operating requirements”, said Ramani Nadarajah

                                                                                                   ..
.. Canadian Environmental Law Association.